Forum Replies Created
May 23, 2022 at 1:36 am #400928May 15, 2022 at 11:28 pm #400299
It has been pleasure for me as well!
I am glad you are in a healthier environment! it sounds like it must have been a relief.
Thank you for the validation and the vote of confidence! Yes, I think it can be easy to forget that better exists when you are in a place that’s less than great. I can try to find it.
The previous role was three days a week and I had two days where I was working at a start up. I still got to do my passion projects via the start up so I was happy enough. The stress on the three days was high but the two days in the middle where i could just ignore all calls, emails and pressure from this workplace were great and that break was enough to keep me functional, even though it pissed off my supervisor and his secretary, I felt I was in the right so I could stick to it. It felt easier to boundary set because I had a documented outside commitment to the second work place.
MMay 15, 2022 at 10:53 pm #400297
Thanks for your response! Even though we are on different pages about the visiting father thing, and I am perhaps using a different tool set to try to understand the situation (the myers briggs personality types – its outdated science but I still find it personally helpful. I type as INFP.) I appreciate your perspective and did take out time to consider whether it was still visiting my father that was impacting my feelings.
I hear you on the managing anxiety around freelancing!
May 14, 2022 at 12:57 pm #400220
- This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by greenshade.
Hi @Helcat Thanks for your reply!
That is a very noble goal! Potentially, one of the few reasons to stay. If you left the role, would someone else take over and likely achieve that goal? Perhaps you can still help people outside of this role?
Awh, thanks! No, it has been more like my personal agenda than an organizational priority. I think I could still collaborate with my future colleagues in the future though to work on this if I were to leave things on a good enough note.
I can empathise with how you feel about HU1. In my old workplace management criticised people behind their back. It made me feel anxious and distrustful.
Yes, it left a bad taste in my mouth, specially from someone in such a powerful position – still acting like a 5th grader.
I think there are a lot of managers like HU2.It sounds like a combination of personal habits and the nature of the role. It sucks when it feels like management doesn’t value your ideas. But this doesn’t mean that they aren’t good ideas. There are likely a variety of factors in play.
What I liked to do when being given lots of responsibilities is ask which is the highest priority and communicate expected time frames for each item. If HU2 gets upset when you are doing that, it is not your fault. As you said, it would be a lack of organisation on their part.
Yes, I do communicate this stuff. They still get angry. Yes, thank you for the reminder !
1. I can understand why this is upsetting. It sounds like they don’t value the time of their employees.
2. I can understand since you explained HU2s nature. I am imagining somewhat stern and fatherly why the tone might sound different from other people who might genuinely hope to see you there. It would sound to me like someone wagging their finger sternly. “I want you to go to this.” It would have been more polite if he asked you “Would you be able to attend the event?” or “Would you like to attend?”.
3. It is understandable why you weren’t there. Was your supervisor present at the meeting? Did you give notice to the meeting host that you wouldn’t be able to attend? My husband likes to message and let people know when he doesn’t attend meetings. The micromanaging seems a bit much. Personally, I don’t enjoy that management style.
4. I think this links in with the theme of this company. They expect a lot of you. They expect you to sacrifice and they don’t seem to respect your time. It doesn’t sound like they have been receptive in the past when you communicated difficulties with a high workload. You are somehow expected to manage everything perfectly all of the time. When the reality is that we are all human, we all get tired and occasionally make mistakes.
I wish you luck with your freelancing! Or in your current role. Whichever you decide, I am sure that you will be successful. You strike me as a professional that cares about their work.
Thank you ! I appreciate the validation and the vote of confidence <3 !May 14, 2022 at 12:28 pm #400219
Thanks for your response.
” “I’m not sure I want to change that about myself” – it is difficult enough to change something significant about yourself when you really want to change it, no way to change it if you don’t really want to change it.
“The other part feels like maybe this is who I am, it’s my personality, even if I didn’t have trauma” – seems to me that we use the word personality for what we don’t want to change about ourselves, or for what we wish we could change but we don’t believe we can.
“Why am I compelling myself to fit into a box I don’t fit into?” – no matter what employment you do, even freelancing, you’ll still have to fit into some kind of a box, as there will be rules and regulations to follow and difficult people to interact with”
I do like my discomfort with hierarchies – I feel they create unhealthy exchanges of power, and cause unquestioning deference to people in power simply because they are in power; and that leads to bad decision making and inefficiency; and also creates opportunities for abuse of power. I see this happen at my work place all of the time. I even participate in it sometimes, because it gets exhausting to be continuously pushing back against a culture I don’t like. I have to believe that its possible to build a work life for myself where I can choose who to work with and when, as equals. I feel those are pretty basic boundaries that I don’t want to compromise on so changing my dislike for hierarchies would feel like changing myself in an abusive way, where I disregard my boundaries. I know I did say that I don’t know if one can survive without adapting to this environment, but in retrospect I think the energy of this statement was a little stockholm syndromy and maybe not reality as I am seeing it when calmer.
When I say compelling myself to fit into a box, I don’t mean that I am looking for an absence of rules or difficult people, but that I am looking for a place where I am not constantly going against my nature. Freelancing, and its build-your-own-path nature appeal to me more because it seems I would have more choice in how to structure my life . I can’t know without trying it however and I guess the uncertainty is scary.
“Yes, I know I project and get triggered, and that is more about me than the situation I am in, but the painful feelings that come up feel pretty real” – I am sure that the painful feelings that come up in the context of the workplace feel real. The thought: I am projecting, does not prevent the feelings. It takes much more than a thought to change or soften painful feelings.
That makes sense. What would you recommend?
“I imagine that you regularly visit your father and that every time you visit him, you don’t feel much of anything because you are in the decades-old habit of numbing the feelings of being TRAPPED in his MANIC BOX. The feelings that are numbed in his presence wake up in the workplace context and you feel trapped.”
I agree that I feel trapped when I get triggered, and that I get triggered at work, but I don’t think that has to do with visiting my dad. I am comfortable with the amount I visit my dad, its on my terms, and I feel wholesome and healthy afterwards and I can leave whenever I want. It feels like a much healthier relationship on both ends – his mental health is well enough right now that he is able to really present and I find myself able to receive support and love from him. I enjoy my conversations with him and am getting to experience him as the person, not the person in active mania, which is something I have wanted my whole life. I also know that if/when his mental health deteriorates again, I am not emotionally dependent on his support and will be able to back off.
My interpretation is that I feel trapped when I am in an environment where it feels difficult to communicate because the culture of the place doesn’t support open communication. While I am getting better at stating my boundaries, its still a work in progress and this place requires constant boundary setting to even have enough time blocked out to meet my own deliverables. And the boundary setting is more exhausting than I have experienced within start ups. I am more comfortable working in those because less formal cultures in my opinion allow for more real talk and are built to allow for more flexible work schedules.
There is an ongoing dynamic: the numbing of the trapped feelings; the waking up of the trapped feelings.
I am reading your most recent post: “I feel excited and relieved at the thought of leaving” leaving a box in which you feel trapped is exciting!
Yes! Cant wait till I am out!
“One of the two higher ups… emailed half an hour before closing time and assigned a task and said that it had to be done that night. I got so triggered” – the numbed feelings of being trapped woke up!
“This week, I was in a group meeting and felt pressured to take on work that I knew would be difficult to complete on time. I could have said no but froze in the moment and felt triggered afterwards” – you could have said No, but the feelings of being trapped woke up and froze your No.
You asked me in the post addressed to me, “How does one decide where the line is for themselves after which they will not put up with triggering behavior, whether the behavior itself is problematic or not?” – look at the quote right above: you could have said No. It was an option available to you. This means that in that circumstance, you were not really trapped in a box because you had an out (saying No). If you are unable to say No, you will feel trapped anywhere and everywhere, won’t you?
I have worked in 4 organizations, I felt trapped in two, did not feel trapped in the other two. While I was working in the two I did not feel trapped in, I was also living with my parents, so I think this does have to do with the nature and type of the workplace rather than the fact that I’m still in contact with my father.
With this sentence, I think what I was trying to say is I am afraid I might be staying too long in challenging situations because I invalidate myself and my triggers by saying “oh these are just triggers; this is my ish to work on, its not really a bad situation”
MMay 11, 2022 at 11:46 pm #399962
Thanks for your reply Helcat!
That is validating to hear.
I feel excited and relieved at the thought of leaving, mixed with doubt as to whether I would be doing the right thing. This position may (if I can stick it out for 5-10 years and manage to figure out how to succeed here) help me meet a work goal that I have been working towards for the last 4-5 years. The goal would have a lot of impact and help people in situations similar to me so I feel bad about abandoning this goal. I am interested in freelancing now, and starting my own set up rather than looking for full time work as historically I have struggled with it.
The triggers this week were:
1) one of the two higher ups (higher up 1/HU1) emailed half an hour before closing time and assigned a task, and said that it had to be done that night. I got so triggered I turned my phone off for the night, even though later after calming down I realized it hadnt even been assigned to me, I was just assuming I would have to do it.
2) there is a work event tomorrow in the evening. It is the fourth evening work event this week, 1 more was announced today. I have no active role in the event. I was interested and thinking about going, but the other higher up (higher up 2/HU2) emailed and said “I hope you are going to this” and this made me lose interest in the event and not want to go.
3) Last week, we had federal leaves due to Eid holidays. Half of our team is based elsewhere and were working. I didnt attend a regular meeting (again this is not a meeting where a lot of work gets done, I usually just sit and listen to others updates) because it was my federal holiday and my supervisor emailed HU2 saying i wasnt present. I had to justify to both my supervisor and HU2 why I couldnt be there in two different meetings and over email.
4) This week, I was in a group meeting and felt pressured to take on work that I knew would be difficult to complete on time. I could have said no, but froze in the moment and felt triggered afterwards.
HU1- Has yelled at me once, but is usually nice to me. I see her yelling at her juniors however, which makes me not trust her. Once, in a meeting, I heard her say in a sarcastic/complaining tone about her secretary who has been with the organization for 20 years ” Now he cant do the work because he’s gone and had a heart attack” (dont know if she reminds me of anyone other than a teacher I had for a bit)
HU2- says he is a good listener and genuinely tries, but is still pretty autocratic and dictates rather than has conversations. Dismisses ideas or work he doesnt agree with as invaluable, which is a lot of my work since we have different approaches to the problems in our field. Is disorganized (will ask you to set aside older priorities and focus on new things, and then you complete the new things says “yes but what about the old thing”, will forget that he assigned you stuff, keeps looping into things that arent my responsibility. reminds me of both my father (nothing is good enough) and my uncle (v intelligent and insensitive but tyring in clumsy ways, imposes their world view on others)
I know this is a lot but was a relief to put it down lol. Thank you to whoever takes the time to read it <3.
May 11, 2022 at 11:12 pm #399961
- This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by greenshade.
I’m not sure I want to change THAT about myself, its more like a part of me feels like I will need to change this about myself in order to survive, the other part feels like maybe this is who I am, its my personality, even if I didnt have trauma I may not have liked working in very heirarchal large organizations so why am I compelling myself to fit into a box I dont fit into? I bounce between these two states a lot.
Sorry just a clarrifying post lol. The “that” in bold and capital refers to :Your last sentence in your most recent post is: “I usually prefer working in smaller less formal set ups with people with similar value sets, but I am feeling internal pressure to change that about myself”May 11, 2022 at 11:03 pm #399958
Thank you for your effort in reading through the past messages. It helps to have this information here for perspective and the analysis resonates, and yes this website and especially your responses did play a large part in helping me get the momentum to move out so for that I am very grateful.
“Your last sentence in your most recent post is: “I usually prefer working in smaller less formal set ups with people with similar value sets, but I am feeling internal pressure to change that about myself” – it makes sense that a more relaxed workplace is a better fit for you (and for anyone who suffers from excessive anxiety). If you want to change that about yourself, that is, to endure a higher stress level in regard to employment because of significant professional/ financial benefits in doing so, you will need to create a separation from your childhood experience with your father, so that this past experience does not encroach on your present experience. Did you ever discuss this topic in therapy?”
With my therapist we do discuss when I am projecting my father onto other situations, and people and it is good insight. However, in the practical scheme of things, it hasn’t helped because even if I know I am projecting it still becomes impossible for me to see the situation or person in a positive light or want to engage with them again. I’m not sure I want to change that about myself, its more like a part of me feels like I will need to change this about myself in order to survive, the other part feels like maybe this is who I am, its my personality, even if I didnt have trauma I may not have liked working in very heirarchal large organizations so why am I compelling myself to fit into a box I dont fit into? I bounce between these two states a lot.
I also struggle with – yes, I know I project and get triggered, and that is more about me than the situation I am in, but the painful feelings that come up feel pretty real, and it feels unfair to myself to stay in these situations that feel bad because I might be projecting. How does one decide where the line is for themselves after which they will not put up with triggering behavior, whether the behavior itself is problematic or not?
May 11, 2022 at 10:44 pm #399957
- This reply was modified 1 year, 6 months ago by greenshade.
Thanks for your response! Yes there are people who trigger me more (specifically there are two people, both quite high up in the organization who throw their weight around. I don’t know if I can separate them. I have been trying. But then something else happens and I get triggered again and its back to square one, there have been three triggers within this last week and it seems like my treshold is getting lower rather than higher, by that i mean Im getting triggered more rather than less. I dont know how much I should put up with, how much is normal. I am afraid that since most work places have people like this in authority positions, I am making things difficult for myself by deciding to leave jobs because I feel triggered at them and that I will pretty much end up unemployed and looking for handouts 20 yrs down the line unless I suck it up now. But my brain seems to be in a continous grey angry fog. Dont know.
MMay 8, 2022 at 3:06 am #399694
Hey @Anita ,
Thanks for taking the time to read through all of my old posts. It was interesting to read through and it seems like my need to be incharge of my own time is a pretty recurrent theme that I cant let go off even though I’ve wanted to. With the poisoning memory- I struggle to attach significance to it (like I almost cant believe it happened) even though it did, so reading someone else write it was strangely validating.
I did move out in March 2021. I am currently pretty happy with my home situation but the work situation is what is spilling over more. I have also been happy in work places although because of financial reasons (places not being able to pay me full time, me needing full time employment) I have not been able to stay in such places for long. I usually prefer working in smaller less formal set ups with people with similar value sets but I am feeling internal pressure to change that about myself.
May 8, 2022 at 2:53 am #399693
- This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by greenshade.
Heyy @Helcat thanks for your response! Yes I do think that is part of it. I have studied at this place before as well and have so many biases against it from that time as well, in fact its when I was studying there that I first developed my anxiety symtoms that Anita has also described in her reply. But since I have experienced burn out before I am also more anxious around enforcing my boundaries for time off, and it feels like a violation when someone tries to encroach on holidays. I also interpret it as them playing a control game (I’m the boss and I need to know you’re available whenever I ask).
In general, however I feel if someone is more respectful of my boundaries generally, I also have less of a reaction if they reach out over holidays (I feel in those cases that I know they wouldn’t disrupt my time off unless it was an emergency) and the intent and energy of that interaction feels different.
I guess it is a conflict of – I feel like the hierarchical work environment is not a good fit for me, but I am also tempted by what is achievable in these environments and the amount of impact you can have + the benefits of being paid on time are pretty great (Ive worked in more lose environments where sometimes I wasn’t paid for months) so a part of me is trying to see if I can CBT myself enough to fitting into this environment.
MAugust 18, 2020 at 4:19 am #365014
@Rose of Yellow Thank you for your words I feel supported by them 🙂 <3. I am in long term therapy, I have an appointment with my therapist tomorrow. She usually supports my PTSD work so I don’t know what it will be like discussing grief with her. I also feel concerned for me lol. Connection is a pretty big need for me, but I also have relational trauma so I don’t feel safe connecting with any of my friends at the moment.
@S thank you for your words. He was a wonderful grandfather. We would garden together and then cook what we had grown. He also would tell me bed time stories he made up in which I was a detective and helped catch the bad guys. He had a definite impact on my personality even though I just had the four years with him.August 18, 2020 at 4:12 am #365012
Dear all, thank you for your replies.
It has been some week :).
@anita it is very scary to think of it, especially the deaths of the people closest to me – that they will one day just not exist – their voice, smell, everything will disappear – it really makes me feel like everything is worthless.
“No one beats mortality because of loving someone, or because of any reason.” This is very true. I think sometimes feelings of love feel so strong I don’t understand how they can’t top every other natural law lol.
That is very interesting. In the last 4 years, I found a permanent work situation (lets all it x) that felt safe and aligned with my work style although I did feel a little codependent with my coworkers. Overall, I was excited and happy and feeling good about life and the critical voice in my head had also softened (through meditation and modeling by others). After 2yrs I left to do my masters in a different country. I came back to x and things were different (the working environment had changed, pays were not frequent, my input wasn’t as welcome). I left x mostly because I wanted financial stability to move out of my parents, and am now working two jobs, one of which feels perfectionistic, rigid and critical and the critical voices in my head and guilty feeling are back and I feel frozen and unable to work. So this is where I am at.June 26, 2020 at 12:15 am #359579
I relate to what you have shared as well. I still can’t always feel the warm feelings, but am putting down a few things that helped me feel them more.
1. Movement while focusing on the breath – yoga and dance both really helped with this, but with teachers who are focused on creating a connection between mind, body and breath. I like yoga with Adrienne on youtube for this purpose.
2. There are certain types of meditation practices that focus on cultivating soft qualities – compassion, joy, gratitude. Center for mindful self compassion has some links to practices. I did a course with one of their teachers in my city which really opened up my ability to have softer feelings for myself and others.
4. Spending time with people (well 2 people) in close capacity who feel and express these softer feelings
There were other things too, like inner child work which is hard for me to describe. But all of this is over a period 4 years, which is to say it takes time to break away the layers of defenses we have built up.
MOctober 31, 2019 at 12:07 am #320665
Hi Inky and Anita,
I am sorry for disappearing. I just wanted to let to know you that I read/appreciated your replies. It just felt like the issues were too big for me to manage at the time (and still feel so) so I blocked them out. Hope you’re both well!